Rancher Pleads Guilty to Falsely Claiming Cattle Losses

November 23, 2015 03:25 PM

A South Dakota rancher has pleaded guilty in federal court to falsely claiming he lost more than a hundred cattle during the autumn blizzard of 2013 that left ranchers reeling with financial losses.

The Rapid City Journal reports Karl Knutson of Vale pleaded guilty Friday as part of a deal with prosecutors.

The agreement dismisses a false statement count. Prosecutors are recommending Knutson be sentenced to probation and fines.

Authorities say Knutson submitted a claim to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the loss of 129 head of cattle even though he actually lost at most 13.

Knutson's indictment says he also falsely told the USDA he paid $135,350 for 103 head of cattle that he didn't actually buy.

Knutson didn't immediately return a telephone message requesting comment.

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